Today’s subject, Moderation, is a difficult one at best. But it is so necessary for writers.
On those days when the writing is going well, you know the ones I mean, word after word flows out of your fingers and onto the page, its easy to sit for hours. Those are the days writers long for. Before you know it, 2000, 3000, 4000 plus words have been written. Those hours sitting at the computer are all worth it.
Or are they?
There are a few things in my life that I miss when I spend this much time with my writing.
Mostly it has to do with chores, laundry, cooking dinner, exercise and most importantly, relationships. It is easy for me to stay focused on whatever project I have going. These things can only be neglected for so long.
Another drawback to spending that much time with the words are injuries. When I worked on NaNoWriMo in November I struggled with pain in my hands from so much typing. Repetitive stress injuries are common with writers. I was glad when I was able to finish and my hands have healed.
For me the answer is Moderation.
The answer is in the word counts. Though I don’t write as many words each day, I do write daily. My focus is on a minimum of 500 words. Though I often go higher, I take a break. Do some of the other things I would miss, like go for a walk or meditate.
There are several authors who have a word count minimum for the day. Hemingway wrote between 500 and 1000 words each day. Another piece of advice I’ve recently read (Vincent Mars) stated that 500 is the minimum with 2000 being the maximum. Sounds like good advice.
Taking care of ourselves can ensure a long writing career.
How do you keep yourself healthy so you can do those things you want to do?
This is so true! I was trying to fit a similar idea into my A-to-Z posts based on something a friend said, but I can’t quite remember how she said it. Basically, that art is important, but if we find we get annoyed when things like family or friends interrupt our work time, we are out of balance. Your point about moderation is so important if we plan to work for our entire lives, right? I think the same about exercise. I can push myself today, but I have to be right back at it again tomorrow, so maybe doing extra isn’t always beneficial.
Sometimes I think you get better results from shorter bursts than longer pushes when it comes to this stuff. There are always times when you need to work longer but for the day to day, shorter is better for me.